Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sheep Barn Construction Starts...

Katielyn and I have been in CO for over a year now (how time flies!). In hopes of getting Rod to move up here, I decided it is time to vacate the existing barn and build the sheep barn.  I'm also tired of the temporary pens and makeshift gates we put up to "temporarily" house the sheep and ready for something much more appropriate.

You'd think designing a simple sheep barn would be a simple task and it probably is if you're starting from scratch and not trying to incorporate an existing building into the plan. You see, there is a large run-in shed located in one of the pastures. It's 11' x 24' -just about the right size for basic sheep barn. But it's location is too far from the house to be convenient for use as the sheep barn.  I want to avoid drawing building permits for a new structure so my plan is to tear down the existing shed and re-erect it with some modification closer to the house.  The greenhouse also needs to be torn down and rebuilt so I'm going to incorporate it on one side of the sheep barn along with a coop for chickens. I really hate the wasted greenhouse space in winter and would like to take advantage of the synergy of the greenhouse daytime heat for the barn, and the animal heat to help fend off freezing temps in the greenhouse to hopefully elongate the growing season.

I drew up plans and then we spent last Wednesday choosing a location. We didn't want the building to close or too far from the house, we wanted easy access to our pastures and it had to have a south facing long wall for the greenhouse. We also wanted as flat an area as possible (this proved difficult).

Wednesday, August 28th

We finally chose a spot and spent the afternoon establishing and squaring the perimeter and corners.  This is our first day's progress, it certainly doesn't look like much!
The perimeter of the barn staked out in none other than baler twine! The string we had stretched to much to be of any use so I tied multiple pieces of baler twine to make twine string. I knew I kept all that twine for a reason!
After mapping out the perimeter of the barn on the ground I was concerned with it's size-it looked so small. We measure the current barn and it's main area is 15'x25' and that includes a 5' alley way which the sheep barn won't have as well as built in mangers, so 12x24' should really be big enough.  I still had my concerns...

Thursday, August 29th

They say " build bigger than you think you'll need" ;and here I am with just an outline and already thinking it might be too small.  After looking at sheep barn layouts and plans all yesterday evening, I have decided to add 4' to the width of the barn. 16'x24' just seems so much more usable. This will entail adding 5 more posts but I know I won't regret going bigger.

Of course it means remeasuring the outline, yet again.

Finally the outline is set and I do like the added space. I've modified my materials list and it's off to town we go to purchase materials for the first phase of construction-the foundation.  We've already established that over the 16' there is a drop of 15" so I'll have to get some fill hauled in.  We're building a pole barn so we'll put the posts in first while we have solid undisturbed soil to work with. We'll then put a skirt around the perimeter of the barn to keep predators out.

Foundation materials list:

9 4x6 12' pressure treated posts
18 80# bags of sakrete
100' tape measure (we only had a 24' tape on hand which isn't enough for measuring the diagonals)

While purchasing the foundation materials we happened on a big pile of seconds 2x4x16's and 2x10'x 16 at a fantastic price so we purchased them too. I'm sure we'll be able to use them in the project somewhere.

We also need to buy 7 cattle panels as we will have to tear down some existing fencing so the fill trucks can get in to dump the fill where we need it. We still want to use these pastures so cattle panels will enable us to put up a secure temporary fence while construction is underway.

Two days at this and we still have no actual construction started...grrr...time is a ticking!

Friday, August 30th

Today construction began! We dug the 4 corner post holes and put in the 4 corner posts.  The holes were dug by hand so progress was slow. We also measured and remeasured in hopes that we can keep the building fairly square.

Here's what we had by the end of the day:

The first post is set!
Four corners in place-they are square and level. The electric post in the background is very crooked! Note Phira watching the sheep through the fence, she thinks they are much more exciting than our construction.
Saturday, August 31st

Rod leaves tomorrow so today we'd like to have all the posts in and fill line marked on the posts.

It's a rainy day but we have managed to get the rest of the holes dug and posts in.  Happily most everything seems square.  The second to last hole was horrible to dig-the ground was so compacted there it was like digging rock.

I have calculated we'll need at least 9 yards of fill. I have put a post on our local online community board and have found someone to bring fill this week.

9 posts set and we're almost ready for fill (still need to take down fencing)



1 comment:

  1. No barn is ever an easy task! I did find this post interesting because we hope to start on our new goat barn next summer.

    I'm visiting all the blogs I follow because I'm very excited about my homesteading book being published! I want to tell the whole world! If you have a chance, please do stop by my blog to help me celebrate. :)

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